The Staff At PeoplesMD.com Want Me To Be A Health Hero But I’m Holding Out For Citizen Doctor

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I’ve recently been asked to join a new Health Website thing called PeoplesMD. Chances are you’ve never heard of them, until I received the email neither had I… or maybe you’ve also received The Email and know more about this than I do…

PeoplesMD is an American-based website attempting to use the Digg.com model but strictly for health care related stories. Basically you, User, would submit articles about health related issues and we, Other Users, would check them out and vote on them and, if your link receives enough votes, your life is that much closer to being Complete.

According to PeoplesMD the people who sign up and submit the articles will be called ‘Health Heroes’, “Anyone can be a Health Hero by posting a great link or creating a helpful guide about any health & wellness topic…even the most obscure or rare facet of managing a health challenge.” Basically you’re being given a chance to cure me.

I was approached through email by Rhona Berens, one of the “co-founders” of the site who wrote “you’re what I imagine a Health Hero to be: you write honestly from experience and offer insights that help others. Your posts are the kinds of resources we want to include on our site, especially as we’re building content during our beta phase. That’s why I just posted about Salted Lithium.”

And she did… in her Review, published on PeoplesMD, she wrote: “We’d prefer not to over-use the word ‘poetic’ when describing Bipolar blogs, but it’s an apt term to describe Gabriel’s wonderful musings on Salted Lithium. Here, he shares insights about what he refers to as his recovery from Bipolar Disorder, including his journey on meds.” It goes on from there.

They’ve reviewed a bunch of other blogs about Recovery in a similar manner, including several which can be found in my blogroll.

In her introductory email she wrote:

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My name’s Rhona. I’m one of the founders of a new website, called PeoplesMD. I’m writing because I think your blog, Salted Lithium, is great… I so wish that my dad was still around to benefit from blogs like yours. My dad was Bipolar… and growing up in Toronto with him, and his struggles with what was then called Manic Depression, helped inspire me to work on PeoplesMD.

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From what I can find, based on Google-ing the names available on their About page, they seem fairly genuine. But personally I think their policy of “There are no censors and no limits. Everyone on PeoplesMD has a voice, and every link has an equal chance of making it onto the home page” is going to be its biggest flaw…

When groups are formed it’s pretty rare for the group to have more than one opinion… when you put two groups with divergent opinions together it becomes a race to the extremes, not to the middle. With the overall medical aspect of the site I don’t see a problem… cancer is cancer and AIDS is AIDS, there are no pseudo-religions out there trying to prove cancer doctors are Evil incarnate. But there is one trying to prove anti-depressants are poison, psychiatrists are an evil cabal and mental illness can be cured by believing in the power of a crap science fiction writer.

I’m really not sure having people who are recovering from mental illness getting together in a central location with deluded cultists is going to be a great idea for said recovery. It’s hard enough getting ourselves out of the house in the morning… if we’ve got ten comments from X3nu and L. Ron on our blog telling us we’re in desperate need of an audit it’s just going to make it that much harder.

I like the idea, the concept, of having a central clearinghouse for recovery ideas. I’ve been thinking of something similar myself, actually I’ve posted about the idea several times.

But Digg recently changed it’s voting structure algorithm thingee to allow a greater number of posts onto the front page because there were groups of Diggers just sitting on the site voting for each others post. So if PeoplesMD takes off I would not be surprised if their Manic Depression Area became dominated by anti-psychiatrist and anti-medication Believers feverishly tapping their vote buttons because, well… Believers usually have incentives.

PeoplesMD has already set me up with an account… which is actually kind of creepy because they’ve already built my profile by scalping my About Page and my Avatar, but I’ll be going through the site and trying to figure it all out. I do believe, if it works, the upside will be greater than the downside… in terms of getting health information out to people having a central space to go sounds like a really good idea.

If you’re up for becoming a Citizen Doctor, their site is in Beta… maybe let me know if you think it’s something worthwhile.

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...thanks.

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About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, crazy people with no pants, Depression, Health, Intervention, Lithium, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Staff At PeoplesMD.com Want Me To Be A Health Hero But I’m Holding Out For Citizen Doctor

  1. thordora says:

    I dunno….best intentions and all that jazz….usually just reverts to a little club….I don’t always dig that stuff (pun NOT intended)

  2. Gabriel... says:

    It’s all right, if you only use one “g” it’s cool. Once I got into Digg I stopped liking it, but I might give it another shot since they’re trying to break up the cliques. Without some controls in place it gets to a point where the site (Digg) get a lot of Hits but the number of actual people using the site plateaus really quick… basically they have fifty dudes voting a thousand times, which is great if all you are is a Hit Hog. But if you want to sell stuff and/or make money I’d rather have the thousand users clicking twice a day.

  3. giannakali says:

    Just so you know that “personal letter” about your blog and her father isn’t so personal…I got the same exact letter with my name and blog name where yours was.

    Anyway, I got the same impression that they are genuine.

    I don’t share your concern about people on the “fringe.” Maybe you consider me fringe, I don’t know. But there is such a heavy preponderance of mainstream thought out there a little rocking of the boat is a good thing in my opinion.

    I don’t like the idea of the site being covered in pharma ads. Direct to consumer advertising is the lowest of the low in my opinion and they do intend to lather the site in pharma ads. (I talked with Rhona) In any case, I’m probably going to participate and see where it goes.

    I’ve told her I would do a link list—I forgot what they call it—but I’m too exhausted lately—I’ll try to get around to it eventually.

  4. Gabriel... says:

    I recognized the general tone of the email as Marketer Speak so I went through a couple of the other profiles and some were less effusive, so I still feel special.

    Like I said in the email, it’s not the pro-med v. anti-med thing I’m worried about. You and I get along just fine and I’m pretty sure we could live together on a link site with little or no difficulty.

    It’s the pro-treatment v. Bipolar Has Benefits and X3nu Believers I’d watch for if I were the PeopleMD people… there are Hubbites who pose as alternative treatment believers in Here, only when the time comes to offer alternative treatments they’re leading people to Really alternative sites. The Science People are very active on the Web, I don’t think a lot of people get that…

    Anyway… enough about Them. I hope you’re getting better. Honey, lots of nice honey and fish, apples, pure orange juice and whole wheat bread… February’s almost over.

  5. giannakali says:

    I think the sorts of people you are talking about don’t have that much traction. I’m still not worried. The net is filled with weirdos everywhere. We all have to be discriminating at all times in any case.

    I guess I feel special too then!! (in reference to the effusiveness of the letter)

    cheers.

  6. Gabriel... says:

    The traction they have isn’t great… but PMD will probably give them a central place to congregate, so if anyone wanted to use PMD as a resource to deal with a mental illness (I wonder what X3nu says about epilepsy…) all they’d be getting is a list of chapters from an LRon novel. Or, just as bad, the “Manic depression makes me an Artist” crowd will finally have a place to post all of their Ic@rus material.

    I just “Boosted” you on PMD.

  7. You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you if you’re going to do something on Sci3ntology.

  8. Gabriel... says:

    Probably. Remember… when you’re spelling Sci3ntology the “e” is a three. I’ve been doing a great job avoiding the X3nu people so far. I think I still have a couple of comments In Here from the Auditors, I’ll have to go look for them…

    I used to think the Science People were mostly harmless, but since that video popped up of their Leader tallying up all of their “Victories” against Psychiatry during their Nuremberg Rally / Academy Awards event I’m thinking Not so much.

    Good to see you Dude.

  9. Oh, man, that was messed up. And the T0m Crooze video was just a stream of incoherence.

  10. Clare says:

    “They” are scary-scary-scary. Man-o.

  11. Pingback: Making Strange Requests « …salted lithium.

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